Those two little words can send anyone’s mind racing towards things thave have either already happened or might happen in the future. Most of the time, in my mind at least, it sends me mind towards times in my past when now in hindsight, I wish I had done things differently.
If only brings with it another word…regret.
Ugh. Regret. That word has an even worse connotation. Regret means that I missed out on something or I wished I had done something differently, or wished I had said the right thing, or, or, or… When people think of things they regret, it’s almost as if the act of regretting keeps them stuck in the past without the ability to move forward. Regret keeps them stagnant. It keeps them from living the amazing and beautiful, sometimes complicated life that God has in store for us.
I’ve been blessed to preview Michelle Van Loon’s new book, If Only: Letting Go of Regret, and I have to say, her words really hit home for me. Through her own experiences, she shares the regrets that she has had in life and how setting her eyes on God has helped her see those same regrets in a new light. She believes that God can repurpose our regret so that new life can spring forth from it. I completely agree.
There are so many things that I have regretted in my life. As I have grown in my relationship to Christ, I realize more and more that those things that I considered regrets, God has actually used as a springboard to bring me to where I am today.
I regretted that I didn’t get married earlier. But that wasn’t God’s plan for me to marry any earlier than I did. I had to go through all of the hurts and triumphs I experienced. They helped shape the person who my husband fell in love with. Regret would have me think that things would have been great had we met earlier, but I honestly feel we would not have connected back then. I was a different person in many ways. Now, we are a perfect match for each other and all those other things I regretted I had to go through, have made me better able to understand the person he is. God always knew when our story would begin, we just didn’t know the timing.
I regretted that I didn’t have children earlier. I doubt there is a parent alive that would not wish for more time with their children. They grow so quickly and you can’t get that time back, so as a woman who married later in life, I have regretted the fact that I will not have more time with my children. Sometimes this one still rears its ugly head, simply because I love my children so much and I know how quickly time flies. I am so thankful that God keeps reminding me to enjoy the now and not worry about the future. I truly feel that is part of the reason why God led us to homeschool. It was not only because of what our children needed, but because God knew exactly what I needed.
We serve an amazing God!
If onlys have a way of stopping you in your tracks. They definitely stopped me, for a long time. I lived in a very dark and lonely world of regret. Regret has a way of taking what can be an amazing learning experience and turning it into an albatross around your neck. It weighs you down until you can’t breathe. It is not living when your life becomes all about looking backward instead of looking forward.
If you are tired of thinking about all of the If Onlys that exist in your life and are ready to see those experiences as God sees them, I highly suggest you read If Only: Letting Go of Regret. Michelle’s book launches on July 1st, but as part of this book tour, I am giving away one copy of her new book. If Only is not only filled with valuable insights, but reflection questions at the end of each chapter and a prayer. The prayers at the end of each chapter were so beneficial for me, because there were times when her words spoke exactly to what I was feeling. If Only is a life-changing book. I know the impact that her words have had in my life and I would love to hear how the book helps you.
To order this book, please visit http://www.beaconhillbooks.com.
Congratulations to Debbie H., the winner of the #IfOnly Book Giveaway!
Open to U.S. Residents only.